Los Angeles, often known as the “City of Angels,” is a sprawling Southern California city famed for its entertainment industry, sun-soaked beaches, and diverse culture. For those contemplating things to do in Los Angeles, stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, spotting stars’ handprints and signatures, and lounging on the iconic Venice Beach, watching skaters and street performers are top activities.
The city’s Griffith Observatory offers breathtaking views of the L.A. skyline and the famous Hollywood sign, while the Getty Center showcases an impressive collection of art, architecture, and manicured gardens. Nearby, the historic Olvera Street, known as the birthplace of Los Angeles, offers a vibrant Mexican market atmosphere with its traditional celebrations, historic buildings, and authentic cuisine.
Beyond its cinematic allure and urban attractions, Los Angeles is a gateway to scenic coastal drives and outdoor adventures. Los Angeles’s blend of glamour, cultural landmarks, and natural beauty makes it a captivating destination for those seeking the best places to visit in the USA.
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Attractions & Things to Do in Los Angeles, USA
1. Griffith Observatory
Set atop the hills of Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory offers breathtaking views of the city and the stars. It’s not just a gateway to the cosmos but also a historical monument, providing insights into astronomy and space. The iconic building has also been a backdrop for numerous films.
Travel Tip: Admission to the observatory building and grounds is free. However, parking can be limited, especially during weekends, so consider taking public transportation or hiking up from Griffith Park.
2. Hollywood Walk of Fame
Stretching for over a mile along Hollywood Boulevard, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is embedded with more than 2,600 brass stars honoring influential figures in entertainment. It’s one of L.A.’s most visited attractions, allowing fans to follow their favorite celebrities’ footsteps.
Travel Tip: The Walk of Fame can get crowded, especially during weekends. Go early in the morning for a less congested experience and to beat the heat.
3. The Getty Center
Perched on a hilltop in the Santa Monica Mountains, The Getty Center boasts impressive art collections, stunning architecture, and serene gardens. The panoramic views of the city from its grounds are a bonus.
Travel Tip: Admission to the Getty Center is free, but parking has a fee. If you’re interested in art, allocate a good portion of your day, as the collections are extensive.
4. Santa Monica Pier
A hallmark of Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Pier offers entertainment, dining, and spectacular Pacific Ocean views. The iconic pier is home to an amusement park, an aquarium, and the end of historic Route 66.
Travel Tip: The pier can get busy, especially during summer weekends. For a quieter experience, visit during weekdays or early mornings.
5. Rodeo Drive
Located in Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive is synonymous with luxury, fashion, and opulence. This world-famous street is lined with upscale boutiques and often frequented by celebrities. Even if you’re just window shopping, the experience is quintessentially L.A.
Travel Tip: Parking can be pricey in this area. Consider parking a bit further away and walking or using city parking structures, which may offer the first hour free.
6. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, housing a collection from ancient times to the present. The museum’s Urban Light installation has also become a favorite photo spot for visitors.
Travel Tip: Check out LACMA’s official website before your visit for current exhibitions and any special events that might occur during your stay.
7. Venice Beach Boardwalk
An eclectic blend of street performers, skaters, artists, and vendors make the Venice Beach Boardwalk a unique and vibrant attraction. It captures the spirit of Los Angeles’ beach culture and offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s bohemian side.
Travel Tip: While Venice Beach is a must-visit, be cautious of your belongings. It’s a popular spot and can get crowded, making it essential to be aware of pickpockets.
8. The Broad
Located in downtown Los Angeles, The Broad is a contemporary art museum showcasing over 2,000 pieces from the Broad collection. The distinct honeycomb-like exterior is a work of art in itself.
Travel Tip: Entry to The Broad is free, but reserving tickets online in advance is highly recommended, especially if you’re planning to visit during weekends or holidays.
9. Universal Studios Hollywood
A combination of a working film studio and theme park, Universal Studios offers an immersive experience in the world of movies. With rides, shows, and behind-the-scenes studio tours, it’s a treat for film enthusiasts.
Travel Tip: Consider investing in a Universal Express ticket if you’re visiting during peak times. This ticket allows you to skip regular lines, maximizing your time at the park.
10. The Hollywood Sign
One of the world’s most iconic landmarks, the Hollywood Sign stands tall in the Hollywood Hills and is visible from many parts of the city. While many choose to view it from a distance, hiking trails lead closer to the sign for those seeking a more intimate experience.
Travel Tip: If you hike to the sign, wear comfortable shoes, bring water, and check the weather. It can get quite hot during the summer months.
11. Olvera Street
Known as the birthplace of Los Angeles, Olvera Street is a historic district that offers a glimpse into the city’s Mexican heritage. This vibrant marketplace features traditional Mexican crafts, food stalls, and periodic cultural events.
Travel Tip: Try visiting on a weekend when local artisans and performers are out in full force, providing a richer cultural experience. Don’t forget to taste some traditional Mexican treats while you’re there!
12. Walt Disney Concert Hall
A masterpiece of contemporary architecture, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, the hall is as famous for its iconic, shimmering curves as it is for its impeccable acoustics.
Travel Tip: While attending a concert here is a treat, you can also opt for a self-guided audio tour to explore the structure and its background on non-performance days.
13. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, MOCA is dedicated to presenting works from the 1940s onwards. The museum’s collection boasts pieces by influential contemporary artists, and its exhibitions often push boundaries and invite discussions.
Travel Tip: If you’re an art lover on a budget, visit on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., when admission is free.
14. L.A. Farmers Market
Established in 1934, the L.A. Farmers Market is a beloved institution where you can find fresh produce, gourmet groceries, and a variety of eateries. Its old-world charm and diverse offerings make it a favorite for locals and tourists.
Travel Tip: Come with an appetite! With countless food stalls and eateries, the market offers a range of cuisines that reflect L.A.’s multicultural fabric.
15. OUE Skyspace LA
OUE Skyspace LA is California’s tallest open-air observation deck, offering panoramic views of the city. Located nearly 1,000 feet above downtown L.A., it provides an unmatched perspective of the sprawling metropolis.
Travel Tip: If you’re an adrenaline junkie, try the Skyslide—a 45-foot, fully transparent slide that offers a thrilling ride on the tower’s exterior.
16. The Grove
A famed outdoor shopping and entertainment complex, The Grove is much more than a mall. Its dancing fountains, historic trolleys, and high-end boutiques and eateries make it a go-to spot for shopping and leisure.
Travel Tip: Time your visit to coincide with one of the frequent live music performances or film premieres here. It adds to the lively atmosphere; you might even spot a celebrity!
17. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Dive deep into the natural world at this comprehensive museum that showcases everything from dinosaur fossils to exquisite gemstones. The institution houses vast collections that document the Earth’s history and the evolution of life.
Travel Tip: Families with children should allocate plenty of time for the interactive exhibits. They’re not only educational but also a lot of fun.
18. Echo Park Lake
Echo Park Lake is a serene oasis amid bustling L.A. The park is known for its beautiful lotus blossoms, paddle boating, and a fantastic view of the downtown skyline.
Travel Tip: The lake is incredibly picturesque during the Lotus Festival in July. However, consider renting a paddle boat for leisure, even on regular days.
19. Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Situated within Griffith Park, the L.A. Zoo offers a chance to see over 1,400 animals worldwide. The adjoining Botanical Gardens further enrich the experience with lush landscapes and a variety of plants.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a lot of walking. To maximize your experience, check the zoo’s schedule for daily activities like animal feedings or talks.
This bustling neighborhood is a cultural hotspot renowned for its nightlife, spas, and Korean cuisine. Dive into many restaurants, karaoke bars, and shops that make K-town a unique L.A. experience.
Travel Tip: If you’re unfamiliar with Korean food, visit a BBQ restaurant where you can grill your meats at the table. It’s not just delicious but also a fun dining experience.
21. Bradbury Building
The Bradbury Building is an architectural landmark in downtown L.A., renowned for its stunning interior. Featuring ornate ironwork, marble stairs, and open cage elevators, the building has been the setting for many films, including “Blade Runner.”
Travel Tip: While the ground floor is open to the public, the upper floors are private. However, even a glimpse of the intricate design from the bottom is worth the visit.
22. The Last Bookstore
A haven for bibliophiles, The Last Bookstore is California’s largest new and used book and record store. Housed in a grand, early-20th-century bank building, it’s a labyrinth of books, including a tunnel made entirely of them.
Travel Tip: While there’s plenty to buy, don’t rush. Spend time exploring the unique art installations and hidden nooks that make this bookstore special.
FAQ About Things to Do in Los Angeles, USA
What are the top tourist attractions in Los Angeles?
Some of the top tourist attractions in Los Angeles include the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica Pier, Rodeo Drive, and the Getty Center.
Is visiting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) worth visiting?
Absolutely! LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States and features an impressive collection of over 150,000 works from ancient times to the present. It’s a must-visit for art enthusiasts.
How can I get tickets to a live taping of a T.V. show in Los Angeles?
Many T.V. shows taped in Los Angeles offer free tickets to live tapings. Websites like 1iota and TVTickets.com often have listings and ticket reservation options for various shows.
Are there any beaches near downtown Los Angeles?
Yes, several beautiful beaches near downtown L.A. Venice Beach, Santa Monica Beach, and Malibu Beach are among the most popular and easily accessible by car or public transportation.
What are some good hiking spots in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles offers numerous hiking trails with scenic views. Some popular ones include Runyon Canyon, Griffith Park Trails, and the Malibu Creek State Park trails.
Where can I experience the best of L.A.’s nightlife?
Downtown LA, Hollywood, and West Hollywood are known for their vibrant nightlife. You’ll find a mix of trendy bars, nightclubs, live music venues, and theaters in these areas.
Is the Griffith Observatory free to visit?
Yes, the Griffith Observatory is accessible to the public. However, there might be a fee for parking and special exhibitions or planetarium shows.
Can I take a tour of the Hollywood studios?
Yes, several Hollywood studios offer behind-the-scenes tours. Studios like Warner Bros., Universal Studios, and Paramount Pictures provide guided tours where you can see sets of soundstages and even catch a glimpse of some live productions.